young white cat drinking from glass of water

Why Does My Cat Drink Out Of My Cup?

Why does my cat drink out of my cup? They have a bowl of their own, what is going on? Well, either they prefer your water, have a problem with their bowl, have learned directly from you, or just can not be bothered to walk all the way to their own water bowl!

This is a weird one that happens, and it seems to be a bit of a novelty – but why do they do it, should you stop them, and can you drink from the glass afterward, or is it potentially dangerous? 

Let’s have a look and see what is going on.

Why Does My Cat Drink From My Cup

It just looks weird and you would think that putting your head in a confined space like a cup would be something to be avoided – but cats will, from time to time, do it. So what is going on? Let’s look at the most likely reasons.

In no particular order, this could be what is going on.

calico cat drinking water from a glass

Whisker Issues

Cats have sensitive whiskers. They are sensitive for a reason. They are used by your cat to detect close-in objects because their own eyes do not really focus well at close range. They use whiskers to monitor objects as they pass close by, sense movements as they grapple prey during the hunt, and detect air movement which is useful in the hunt. 

If your cat has really sensitive whiskers they may find that getting them wet or tweaking them on bowls is annoying. But, drinking from a cup or glass might be easier or better as the whiskers naturally fold back against the snout or are even totally free from obstruction if the water levels are high.

Territorial Issues 

Maybe you live in a multicat home and there is a territorial dispute going on. Maybe another cat has claimed the water bowl and the cat drinking from the glass can’t be bothered to get into a confrontation over it. The claim might not even be ongoing but just for that day. Either way, the cat drinking from the glass is trying to keep the peace!

Maybe, if you are a single cat home your cat has seen a stray, feral, or neighborhood cat through a window and feels the location of the water bowl is risky and doesn’t wish to drink in that location and thinks the glass or cup is better placed?

Tastes Better

Chances are that the water you put out for your cat is not fresh, it could be a couple of hours old or at the wrong temperature, and perhaps it is not filtered or aerated anymore. Or the bowl is not as perfectly clean as it might be. Even water that is an hour old might collect some dust on the surface. If your cat just stares at the water bowl but picks your glass or cup to drink from then there is a problem with the bowl!

But, the water in your glass, is fresh cool, filtered water, from a clean glass, aerated by being poured from a height. An altogether more interesting proposition for your cat! You can see their point!

tabby cat drinking from cup


You, being a family member are part of the pride. And you might be a more senior member of the pride or not. But, your cat is a bright spark and has noticed that you never, never drink from the water bowl they use. 

Your cat is learning from you that the water in their bowl is potentially wrong or dangerous or somehow not good. But, you have a glass of fresh clean water – so if it is good for you it is good for them, and who could argue with the logic?

They are following instinct and just learning from family members the same as kittens watch mothers or other senior cats and learn from observation.


Lots of cat guardians do things out of habit like placing water and food bowls together or providing one water bowl, one food bowl, and one litter tray. But, cats like to have lots of amenities on their territory. They want, prefer, and find it more natural to have multiple water sources, multiples of everything, a territory of abundance…

Maybe your cat is just drinking from your cup because it is available and nearby. They don’t fancy a hike through the building just to get a drink? The amenities are provided by water delivered nearby so why not just accept and drink it if you feel like it?

Should I Stop My Cat From Drinking From My Glass?

Really there is probably no point trying to stop your cat from stealing your water. As soon as your back is turned they will be at it again!

Instead, think about what you can learn. You might learn your cat likes multiple water bowls. You might learn the water needs to change more regularly. You might learn the water bowl has had its day and needs swapping out.

All in all, cats have big problems with kidneys that pack up – and that is usually down to a lack of moisture in their diet. So anytime you can get your cat drinking, even if it seems weird or novel is probably good for them in the long run and should be allowed to continue.

a cat drinking from a kitchen tap

Should I Drink From The Cup Afterward?

If you do see your cat drinking from a glass or cup that you intended to use yourself it is probably best to get yourself another glass!

It is unlikely that you will get any problems from drinking the water your cat has had a go at, but it is probably best to be on the safe side and assume your cat has claimed that water from you as theirs! Get another cup, that way you can avoid any potential health concerns!

Final Thoughts 

Cats have senses that are far more sensitive than ours. A cat drinking from a cup or glass may have problems with their water bowl, find something integrally better about your water or just need or prefer a number of drinking locations rather than the single location you might have imposed on them. Either way, a cat drinking from a cup should not be something to be concerned about – enjoy the novelty of cats doing weird things!